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Maxol plan to revamp Ennis forecourt is not approved

Champion Chatter

PROPOSALS for the refurbishment of a forecourt on the outskirts of Ennis have been refused planning permission over the potential “adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Ennis and Clarecastle”.
Maxol Limited had applied for planning permission to refurbish and rearrange the internal area of the foodhall of the existing forecourt on the Ennis Road, Clarecastle. According to the application the plans would allow for an expansion of the existing deli offering to include a branded hot-food takeaway, with 20 people to be employed.
Under the proposal an existing children’s play area, closed since March 2020 due to Covid “and difficulties of ensuring safe sanitation levels for future use” would have been removed to allow for a reallocation of foodhall space to provide a new layout.
Clare County Council planners assessing the proposal expressed concerns that the development would result in “intensification of the existing use on site”.
“I consider the development would become a destination in its own right and attract customers from elsewhere including the town centre given its relative proximity to it and ready access from the national road network,” the planning report stated.
“I do not accept that the applicant has adequately demonstrated that the development by virtue of its scale and proposed food offerings, would not adversely compete with the town centre or give rise to ‘leakage’,” the planner’s report outlined.
The report added that with no additional seating proposed there would be an emphasis on the take-away element “which would undoubtedly result in short and frequent trip generation in its own right, rather than catering for long distance travellers, who wish to sit down and relax on site”.
The report recommended planning permission be refused.
In refusing planning permission, the council chief executive’s order stated the proposal would constitute an unsustainable form of development which would be principally dependent on private car based transport.
The order stated, “The planning authority considers that the development as proposed would lead to further intensification of commercial uses on the subject site, which would have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Ennis and Clarecastle.”
The refusal added that the proposal “would result in an undesirable and haphazard intensification of use at this edge of town location and would be contrary to the objectives of the planning authority which seek to consolidate developments within town and village centres in order to protect the vitality and viability of such areas”. The council determined that the proposed development would be contrary to the ‘Guidelines for Planning Authorities: Retail Planning’ (April 2012) and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
The order stated that with, “regard to the location of the site in relation to the Clareabbey roundabout and the intensification of use and associated increase in vehicular movements that would be generated onto the R458 Regionall Road, relative to the established business at this location, the planning authority considers the proposed development would interfere with the safety and free flow of traffic on the public road and would endanger public safety by reason of a traffic hazard.
“The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planing and sustainable development of the area.”

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